i was so excited about this movie when it first came out, but when i asked around to see if people wanted to go, there was a lukewarm response to the proposed viewing. the reviews have been mixed, but never one who listens to the sometimes bad opinions of snobbish critics, i still wanted to see this movie. now, weeks later after the movie had first came out, i have finally seen it, and i must say, the count of monte cristo was a pretty good movie.

in a nutshell, two friends, one girl, one friend sets up the other friend to steal his girl, the unlucky friend goes to prison for 16 years where he meets a fellow inmate who teaches him how to be a sophisticated gentleman including the art of fighting, unlucky friend escapes (by now they're probably not friends anyway), hooks up with some long lost treasures, and starts scheming his revenge. having never read the count of monte cristo, i'm just amazed this kind of story could've been written back then!

the first half of the movie was kind of slow, but once edmond dantes escapes from prison and become the count of monte cristo, things really start to pick up, and i'm talking to the movie screen because i'm so engrossed in the story. there are actually a lot of amusing moments, and luis guzmán as jacopo steals every scene that he's in. the main cast is so beautiful and regal, with the likes of guy pearce, james carviezel, and dagmara dominczyk, but guzmán seems so out of place, short and stocky and hispanic, that it almost becomes a sight gag, though i think he's perfectly cast for the role.

some comments:

  • edmond dantes is imprisoned for 16 years but he has perfectly manicured nails? it's hard to convey his jail sentence within the space of a few minutes of screen time. 16 years and still strong enough to do all the things he's done? prison food must be pretty nutritious! there is definitely a leap of faith here, but it's only a slight hurdle to overcome in order to enjoy the movie completely. once you buy in his long prison time and how he'd been training so that one day he could escape and exact his revenge, there's no going back, you're in it for the whole ride.
  • best movie entrance i've seen in a long time! fireworks in the background as the count of monte cristo descends from high above via an air balloon, with four acrobats tumbling out acting as human anchors and finally pulling the balloon down for a landing, where then the count comes out in slow motion and says over the crowd of people below, "greetings." oh dang, how cool is that?!
  • lesson to be learned: you can't exact a good revenge without friends to help you out along the way. revenge is all about team work, there's no i in revenge.
  • another lesson: if you're a bad person you will have bad complexion and bad teeth. and your hair will turn white. (mondego looks in the mirror, "say hello to ugly!")
  • spoiler alert! i totally caught on that mondego's son was actually dantes' son within a few minutes. maybe at the time it was a big surprise, but this story device has been used so much, i almost come to expect it. still, i wasn't sure, but when mercedes finally reveals the truth, i was like, "i knew it!"
am i tempted to read the book, now that i've seen the movie? i'm tempted to read the movie again rather than see the book! definitely a great escapism flick, solid story (although for those who've read the book, it won't be a surprise, but i think nevertheless they can still enjoy the movie), some action (no wagon chase here, or men fighting on horses, or jumping from ship to ship), some realistic swordsplay (stopping stabbing me with your sword!), a great tale of revenge, but underneath it all, it's a story of love as well (awww...). definitely worth seeing, you won't be disappointed, you can count on it (stopping stabbing me with your sword!).

two of the worst days to be single occur during winter, the season where everything is dead and new england is a cold harsh barren landscape. one of the days is new year's eve. the other is today, valentine's day. i woke up with images of the office filled with roses, the boyfriends or husbands of the ladies at work expressing their affection through flowers. i have never worked in an office so crammed with people who are either in relationships or have taken their matrimonial vows. i wasn't expecting today to be a very good day.

then i saw something that just cheered me right up. while at harvard square waiting for the train to come, i saw a bouquet of flowers on the tracks. well, here was evidence that at least one couple's valentine had be ruined! i felt pretty good, score a point for antilove! if those flowers could talk, think about what they might say! i quickly grabbed a few snapshots so i could remember this moment forever, before the train arrived and ran over the bouquet. bye bye symbol of love, bye bye!

i went to central square for lunch, got a chicken schwarma from moody's falafel. i then stopped off at cvs to pick up some valentine cards. it was a tough decision between britney spears, n'sync, or barbies. in the end i went with barbies, based on the fact that these cards had glitter on them. this would prove to be a bad idea, as i found out later.

my 4pm project status meeting afforded me the perfect opportunity to deliver my valentine cards to all the ladies downstairs i have a secret infatuation with. my original idea was to only give cards to people who were single, based on the assumption that those with significant others would be getting gifts from their beloved, while we lovelorn singles basically had nothing. i wanted to even the odds a little bit, sort of make the relationship people jealous for a change on valentine's day. so i made a list of all those who were single (the list was so small, i wrote it on a baby post-it note) and wrote out cards for them. because the cards had glitter on them, i ended up getting glitter all over my hands, and when i went to lick the envelopes, i got glitter on my tongue as well. and it's hard to get glitter off, as those of you who've experimented with glitter can very well attest to! so i went downstairs and gave out the cards, but after the meeting i felt sort of bad and i ended up giving everyone a card downstairs, regardless of their relationship status. i hope this doesn't dilute the selfworth of the single ladies downstairs though! if i didn't have a guilty conscious, only they would be getting cards!

let's pause to examine the irony of the situation. i am totally against valentine's day, but what do i do? i go out and get valentine cards and give them out to people in the office! i smell hippocrisy. maybe it was eliza hoover's valentine's day card made from paint chip samples that sort of gave me the impetus to do something special.

i had every intention of spending a quiet evening alone at home on valentine's day (maybe watch the vagina monologues on hbo), but dan asked if i wanted to go check out a movie so we decided to grab dinner in chinatown then go to the boston common theatre to see the count of monte cristo. when i was thinking about not spending valentine's day alone, dan wasn't exactly high on my list of dream date options, but i definitely wanted to be out, regardless if it wasn't for anything romantic (although we did see a romantic movie).

we had dinner at the korea house, this new restaurant that opened up a few months ago. it was a strange restaurant. first of all, it was all koreans. usually that's a good sign that it's an authentic restaurant, but in this case it just made me nervous, like we didn't belong. the place kind of reminded me of a gangster restaurant, how only connected people would eat there. there was a sleazy quality to the place, one entire wall completely covered in korean and english graffiti, felt like i was having dinner in a bathroom stall. there was also a nasty smell of fermented beans. however, the service was excellent. apparently the manager was waiting tables tonight. dan and i both got the bi bim bap served in a stone bowl for $3 more. i was joking around about the hard sell restauranteer, "you have to get the bi bim bap on the stone bowl! if you don't get it, i don't we can serve you. get out!" how if i had a restaurant, i would totally talk people into getting things they didn't want just because it was more expensive, sort of like a car dealer. when we got out bi bim bap, the manager came over and said we were eating it all wrong and proceded to show us by mixing together everything in dan's stone bowl. the hard sell! in my mind i was imagining, "you don't know how to eat it! get out of here! i can't sell to you!" bi bim bap was okay, but for my money, i would've prefered something spicier and a lot less rice. i'm not big on rice. i'm a noodles man myself.

we went back to the theatre (we had been there earlier to buy our tickets from jenni, a very cute and very friendly ticket seller, dan paid for my ticket as a belated birthday present) and found our screening room. whoa, is it couples only night? everywhere i looked, groups of twos. actually, it's a pretty smart move taking a lady friend to the count of monte cristo on valentine's day, because it's a romantic movie, and you know what they say! <snicker>

after the movie i came home, walked the 10 minute stretch of roads from where the bus drops me off to my house without passing a single car, illuminated by the twinkle of the stars overhead. my hands were cold and i walked home as quickly as possible, staring at the sky the whole time. all and all, not a bad valentine's day. sure i'm spending it alone, but i made pretty good use of my day. i'm spared of all that valentine's day preparations and rituals couples have to go through. dan also had an interesting theory, that just as many people are hooking up today, likewise there are just as many breaking up, because valentine's day can also be a stressful time for couples. can anyone say rebound chicks all next week?